Stand up straight!. You have heard your mother tell this to you a hundred times and now you find yourself constantly saying it to your children. Why dont they listen? Probably for the same reason you didn’t. Only now its worse because you didn’t grow up in the same generation that was exposed to advanced techlological electronics. The gravitational effects of constant texting, gaming, laptop and tablet use has drastically accelerated the rate of degenerative posture progression. Cases are being reported every day of early spinal degeneration in as young as 14years old( insert reference). And yet we struggle to get our children to comply with standing or sitting upright on demand.

    Here are the common myths behind the reasons why they stay slouched

  • They are being lazy. Parents assume that they are doing this by choice. It is true and research has shown that children have become more sedentary in recent times.. Playing video games and watching tv has replaced outdoor physical activity. Obesity among adolescence continues to be on the rise. It intuitively makes sense for parents to make the connection between a lazy lifestyle and a lazy posture
  • They are being defiant. Kids don’t listen to their parents anymore. How often have we come to that conclusion.We live in times of more freedoms,advancements and entitlement. Its natural to assume that it is part of our children culture. Drive by a public school and you cant help but notice groups of teenagers standing around with droopy shoulders and tilted heads, It becomes
  • They want to fit in. Social acceptance is a very important factor in a young adolescence life. Conformity is the easiest way to gain acceptance among adolescent piers. It is true with fashion, music and sports and recreational hobbies. It is also true with physical appearance . Children will often imitate there friends facial gestures, nods and body language. It is natural to assume that posture would be mimicked if it conforms with the overall attitude of the clique.
Here is the simple reality of the situation. Aside from injury or genetic disease, bad posture occurs for only 2 basic reasons. It feels unnatural to stand up straight and it feels uncomfortable to stand up straight. Its the same reason why you didn’t listen to your parents and its the same reason why adults have bad posture. People mistakenly believe that’s its within our full control to instantly change a bad posture to a better one simply by exerting more awareness and self control to be more upright.
In actuality, the naturally evolved state of humans is to be fully upright and we have the capacity to keep that upright posture until we are 99 years old. The same holds true with our teeth. They can last a lifetime it they are taken care of. And therein lies the secret. Taking care of our posture. But how do you successfully achieve this when its feels uncomfortable and we haven’t been trained on proper posture hygiene,? What is proper posture hygiene?
It starts with understanding. Be willing to let go of your mis-perceptions about posture. You have the ability to momentarily straighten your body in an upright position. It is not sustainable because it hasn’t been trained. Just like you have the ability to stand on one foot for a few moments before balance is lost and you tip. However, a gymnast or ballerina is likely able to stand on one foot for extended periods of time without tipping over. Why? Because they have been trained. Because they practice. Because they invest effort and energy maintaining higher levels of upright balance. In time, balance becomes automatic for them.
That is the other reason why it may not be sustainable. Because it requires too much cognitive thought and effort. If telling yourself to be more aware to stand up straight and pull your shoulders back was all that was required , then everyone would do it and the problem would be solved. But good posture , like breathing , is meant to be automatic. You cant actively expect to constantly turn your thoughts to maintaining good posture throughout the day. There are too many other urgent and important distractions and tasks that require cognitive focus. If all you did was think about posture you wouldn’t get anything else done. The solution lies in training good postural behavior to be automatic. Think back to your teeth. You brush them everyday. You don’t have to think about it or plan to do it or increase your awareness of it. You just do it. Its an automatic habit. This habit was trained a very long time ago and now it runs on autopilot. That’s the beauty and essence of automatically and it works for posture too. I will demonstrate this in detail on the next blog .

Stay tuned !!!

Can you think of 2 good health habits that you currently do automatically? Can you think of one that you most wish was automatic? Please share